Have you been tossing and turning at night? Perhaps you're having trouble falling asleep because you're lying in bed worrying about work and finances. Or, you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep. Or, you wake up feeling more tired, not refreshed, in the morning and are excessively tired during the day.
You're certainly not alone if you're suffering from any of these symptoms of insomnia. More than 25 percent of Americans report insomnia occasionally, while 10% experience insomnia almost every night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
So, how do you tell if you've simply hit a rough patch that will pass, or if you have a chronic sleep problem?
There isn't a hard number, says Tracey Marks, MD, psychiatrist in Atlanta and author of Master Your Sleep. A good marker is to look at a week or month and add up whether you've had trouble sleeping more nights than not.
Acute insomnia, which lasts for a few days, can be connected to a particular event like a work deadline or examination.
Sleep usually gets better when the stressor goes away, says Deirdre Conroy, PhD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and clinical director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Michigan.
It's common to have temporary insomnia, says William Kohler, MD, medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill, Fla. You don't need to be overly concerned about a couple nights of restless sleep. But if insomnia persists and interferes with your functioning, then it's time to evaluate the nature of the problem.
Chronic insomnia, which lasts for longer than three weeks, can affect your daytime functioning. You may notice changes in your mood, difficulty concentrating, or decreased productivity.